LESSON #5: IGNORANCE=STRESS & TRUTH=PEACE
How IGNORANCE causes STRESS:
By ignorance I simply mean lack of truth. So much of our daily reality is actually not reality at all, but stories we've made up about ourselves, experiences, others, and the world. And many of these untrue beliefs and thoughts, are parading around your mind as truth, and perpetuating your stress every single day.
Let me tell you a personal story I haven't really shared publicly. Four years ago, when my boyfriend moved in with me, we started having a lot of problems. I was crazy stressed out in the relationship, having low grade anxiety and depression all the time, and it was affecting every area of my life!
I was at the point where I felt like we needed to call it quits. But the thing was, I still loved him, and deep down I wasn't sure ending it was the right thing to do.
I had already been meditating for years at that point, so I turned to my practice for help. And what I realized was, I had only been meditating for relaxation. So anytime I'd feel stress or anxiety, I'd simply turn to my breath practice (or some other relaxation technique) to shift my focus away from my pain and induce peace.
This relaxation method definitely helped me shift my stress and anxiety so I could function decently in my day, but it was a very temporary fix. And eventually I was back to the same panicked, anxious, depressed emotional state, I started at. This up and down cycle went on for months.
Just as I was about to throw in the towel, I had a game-changing realization!
What I eventually realized was, when you use your meditation practice only for relaxation, you're never really addressing your problem at the root. You're simply using your practice as a superficial band-aid, so the stress is gonna keep coming back over and over again.
To heal your stress and anxiety for good, you've got to get to the root of your stress and heal it there.
I call this "meditation for transformation". It's a much deeper process than meditation for relaxation, but will allow you to heal your stress and anxiety for good!
TRUTH creates PEACE:
So how did I heal my stress and anxiety in my relationship? I did it by uncovering those false stories I had created in my head (my ignorance) and finding the TRUTH.
This is how you heal stress through the power of truth:
1) Stop being a victim, and start taking full responsibility for your pain, emotions, and problems.
For me, this meant that I had to stop blaming my boyfriend for causing my anxiety, stress, and depression. And I had to realize that I played a role in creating it too.
2) Start uncovering the false stories you've created, that are keeping you stuck and stressed.
I noticed I had the tendency to take every single one of his actions personally and create a disempowering (and untrue) story around it (he must not love me; I'm not good enough; he's purposely hurting me, etc.). Then those false stories posing as truths in my head fed my anger, anxiety, stress, and reactionary behaviors.
Once I was able to see which of my stories (aka. thoughts and beliefs) weren't true, I was able to uncover the truth, and thus change my own thoughts and actions, that were keeping me stuck and stressed.
This process of separating false stories from truth, helped me heal the intense anxiety and stress my relationship was causing. But this process can be applied to ANY AREA of your life, where you feel stuck! Health, money, career, etc.
NOTE: this is a bit more advanced than meditation for relaxation (like we did in day 1). If you're not ready to take responsibility for your pain and problem, and not ready to get to the root of it, that's ok! Go back to the day 1 focus practice and continue doing that and other types of relaxation meditation techniques. I practiced relaxation meditation for awhile before I felt ready to go deeper.
But if your at least a little curious and open about the next stage of using meditation to deeply transform those stuck patterns and areas of your life, try the practice below.
JOURNALING (or free writing)
Journaling is one very powerful practice to help you get out of your ego mind (which is generating those false stories), and help you connect to your intuition so you can uncover truth.
**Some difficult emotions may come up during this, so you may want to do this when you have some space to rest and self-care afterwards.
- Grab a pen and paper and focus yourself with some mindful breathing (from day 1) until you feel grounded.
- First declare, "I am safe experiencing these emotions. I am ready for the truth. The truth will set me free!"
- Then say "I admit I have played a role in creating this stuck and stressful situation. And thus I take responsibility, so I can take back my power and create change and peace"
- With your eyes closed, bring to mind an area of your life where you feel stuck. Just like we did in day 2. Take the time do visualize it and feel it.
- Notice what thoughts are present for you and begin to write them down. All of them. Don't sensor or judge yourself, just write what wants to come out!
- Then go back through each one, and ask yourself, "Is this true??". "Is there any possibility this is not true?"
- Circle the true ones and cross out the false story ones.
- Then go back to all the true ones, say them, and see if they feel empowering or disempowering. The ones that feel disempowering likely still have false story attached.
- Thank yourself for doing the work, and if you'd like, practice some gratitude to lift your vibe before you wrap up. You're doing a great job!!
You can revisit those thoughts and go through the process again and see if anything new comes up. This is a process and you won't uncover the truth all at once! But the more you do the work, the more you'll uncover and the faster you'll find lasting peace!
Peace, love, and a consistent practice,